By Chesney Bradshaw
A successful inventor, Stephen Key, says that he started his career in product development selling his handmade goods at art shows and state fairs where he quickly discovered the importance of creating a desirable product. “Let’s face it: When the rent is due and you are hungry, if the product used to spent several hours making doesn’t sell, you quickly move onto something else.”
This is an important point, isn’t it for? If you make something that very few or almost no one wants, then what’s the point? But how do you get to that stage where you are making products that people want?
That’s a difficult question to answer because who knows? Unless you develop something and test it you will never know. It’s only through trying things out and selling them that you will find out. Family and close friends might get excited about your new idea. You probably will fall in love with your new idea and not see its shortcomings. It’s only by putting it out there in the real world where people make buying decisions and choices that you will be able to find out if what you have come up with is working.
What I often advocate is that you prepare a small test of your product or service before you ramp it up to a larger scale. But this needs to be handled carefully. A test can give you the wrong indication and lead you astray. Your test should be as close as possible to a real purchase event. You need to put out a sample of your product for sale and persuade customers to buy. You might have to give away small samples to attract interest. For example, a couple who came up with a healthy confectionery product gave out samples to delicatessens and other speciality food stores. Soon their cell phone was ringing with potential customers placing orders. So, think about testing before you think your idea is brilliant. The market will give you the feedback you need.
From experience I know how expensive it is to develop a product, how long it takes to implement, how it costs twice as much or more than you initially anticipate and how exceedingly difficult it is to break into a market. Coming up with a new product or service often means that you need to start a business. But you may not want to start a business, have to learn how to operate and run a business and deal with operational and employee issues. Yes, there are ways to form a small enterprise or venture that takes minimal effort to run but these instances rare.
Another route to develop your new idea from an existing product or service would be to license your idea. Licensing frees you from development costs, marketing and running a business. Stephen Key, for example, provides coaching and information on how to go about licensing your new business idea.
If you are interested in coming up with new business ideas and looking at the different ways to develop ideas into income-generating assets, check out “Breakthrough Ideas”, a valuable resource for students studying entrepreneurship, aspiring entrepreneurs and people who wish to start their own business.